Hundreds of elementary kids raise more than $5,900 for UT Cancer Institute

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Chances are if you were in West Knoxville Thursday morning, you might have noticed the 496 Sequoyah Elementary school students going for a walk, but this wasn’t just any walk.

The Cancer Walk is an annual tradition that started 19 years ago at Sequoyah when a secretary at the school was diagnosed with leukemia. Since then, the entire school walks every year in support of cancer research, funding and to raise awareness in their community, especially to those still battling the disease to keep fighting.

“It’s amazing. It’s neat to bring this to the kids and let them take part in this and hopefully we’ll find a cure. We just have to keep fighting,” said Sequoyah Elementary teacher Raychel Bayless.

“Unfortunately, we take care of patients who have to make choices about buying medicines or paying their power bill,” said Dr. John Bell with the UT Cancer Institute. “We can take these monies and put them in our cancer fund and help these patients in our community who have needs.”

Over the last 19 years, Sequoyah has raised more than $65,000 for the University of Tennessee’s Cancer Institute.

“I mean who hasn’t been touched by this?” says Bell, because for many students the cancer walk means a little bit more, for them it’s personal.

“My aunt Teresa, she has ovarian cancer. She has a rare kind of it,” said Mary Carlisle.

In the words of her walking partner Keenan Martin, they’re fighting for Teresa.

Thursday’s cancer walk raised more than $5,900 and all of it will go to the UT Cancer Institute and be used to promote and support research projects as well as helping patients in need.


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